Funky To Fabulous: How To Stop Self Sabotage

03/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Clara grabbed me at a conference last week in San Diego. Her eyes glassy
with panic. The story she told me sums up the "Anatomy of Self Sabotage."
Here's how it works:

Step One: The Improbable Dream Syndrome.
Clara heard the buzz about someone from her college class. The news was that
a woman had started an Internet company- banked 3.4 million dollars, gotten
married, pregnant and started a non-profit for at risk teens in just five
years. Clara had compared herself to that classmate and come out on the
losing end. She assigned herself an Improbable Task: "I can start a new
business and be profitable- fast! I will make eight hours of sales calls
every day."

Step Two: The "I Suck At This" Syndrome.
When you decree overbearing expectations, you are setting the stage for
yourself to fail. It takes time to learn new skills and develop new habits,
yet many of us demand instant results.

Clara had been in IT for twelve years. Even though she had never made a
sales call in her life, her plan was to sell a certain quantity of her
proprietary software each week. "Sure, I don't have training in sales- but
how tough can it be?" she thought. She began her sales calls Christmas week
and was deeply disappointed that in three weeks she had not made any sales.
The Criticism Committee in Clara's head had grabbed the microphone and
shouted, "I can't, I suck, and I might as well give up." That negative
mindset made it impossible for her to pick up the phone and call any other

Step Three: The "Oh, Screw It" Syndrome.
"Why bother? I can't sell anything. I might as well give up and go and try
and find a job." Instead of doing sales calls she was on Facebook for much
of the day. It may sound a bit silly that a person would give up their
dream of owning their own business after one month, but it is not that

Self-Sabotage Antidote:
Step One: Get Real

*One of the best ways to be of service to yourself and others is to make
small goals and achieve them.

*Being part of a supportive community is a key component in dismantling

*Write down your goals and find a buddy or group to help you make sure that
your goals are realistic.

Step Two: Turn Down The Criticism Committee

* Ask yourself the following:
"Am I doing the best I can?" (The answer is probably yes.)
"Can I be more compassionate with myself?" (The answer is probably yes.)
"Is there someone that I can ask for help?" (The answer is probably yes.)

Step Three: Just Do It

* It's harder to say, "Oh, screw it!" or spend your day on Facebook if you
are accountable to others.

* Just do it. Set realistic goals and check in with at least one person
daily to make sure that you are on track.


Are you ready to get out of the way and let your dreams have a say?
Email Eli at or go to today.
Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized executive coach and motivational
Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for The Savvy, Sassy
and Swamped", (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.
Eli is a reinvention catalyst, who can transform your professional and
personal life from Funky to Fabulous with her ten, trademarked Turnaround
Techniques that create rapid and remarkable results.